Ni hao ma!

by Brittny Robins, Founder and CEO

A 15-hour flight will do things to you... Very very bad things. It will make your butt numb. It will make your skin dry. It will make you overload on bread rolls, pretzels and apple juice to avoid attempting whatever’s hidden beneath the hot tin-foil tray. However, that experience is a barrier that stands in between you and the opportunity to explore an entirely new culture, a new business market, and what feels to be a new world. This is what I have always loved about traveling – to have my eyes and perspective opened. I’ve also found that I become my most “free” self abroad. I have spent every trip in my early 20’s doing something I would never do at home, whether it be skydiving, hopping on the back of a moped, getting a ridiculous tiny tattoo, or a piercing just to feel edgy. But now traveling means something else for me - it now attaches the feeling of opportunity! Every single trip I have been on since I launched Flawless by Friday has come with a purpose, a connection, and unlimited potential growth.

I learned a lot on a recent trip to Germany. No one I met with was scared to hurt my feelings and I received feedback on my brand that was direct and honest - both positive and negative. As much as it feels like a punch in the gut, I have found negative feedback much more powerful than positive feedback. I’ve learned that the more it stings, the more you deep down agree with it, and the more it inspires change.

As much as I have learned from past business/learning trips, I have learned the most from just 8 days in China. Not necessarily because of the constructive criticism that I feel I have already begun to digest, but even more so because of the mirrored excitement I received when discussing my business plans in a market that I admittedly know very little about.

I visited an incredible office that was run by a woman who is focused not only on the growth of her company, but the personal growth of each person in it. She inspired me on a very personal level as someone who sees, much like I do, that feeling good can lead to doing good in business and in life.

I had the opportunity while I was there to do an impromptu “talk” with an incubator of young entrepreneurs who are all trying to create more efficient and technologically forward thinking businesses in Asia. This was very flattering for me, but I feel that I learned more than I taught. I learned that when you are obsessed with what you do and how you do it, your passion becomes contagious. I learned that despite my limited experience in running a company, I can say something that can inspire someone else to look at their fears and limitations as optional. I ended my talk by saying “You can’t assume you will fail… You have to assume you will succeed”. This is the mantra I have really had to live by to keep myself confident even when I am terrified.

If ever given the chance to sit on a long bread-roll-filled flight that takes you to Asia, please do it. I have been overwhelmed by the creativity, forward thinking ideas and quite honestly the self assuredness that sometimes I think we can lack in North America. Ganbei!!